Challenging schedule faces Georgia Southern in the fall

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Friday, March 1, 2019

STATESBORO, Ga. – The Georgia Southern Athletics Department and the Sun Belt Conference announced Friday the Eagles' 2019 football schedule, one of the most difficult FBS slates in program history that includes six home games, at least two nationally televised games and seven contests against teams that played in the postseason last year.

"This schedule, on paper, is shaping up to be really tough, but we're up for the challenge," head coach Chad Lunsford said. "We start out at LSU, who is one of the top teams in the country, then host Maine who went to the FCS semifinals last year and then go to Minnesota, who won seven games and a bowl game as a young team last year. Then we also have to go to three of the top teams in the Sun Belt in App State, Troy and Arkansas State. But we're excited to have six games at Paulson at home again to be able to play in front of Eagle Nation. This schedule is a challenge, but we want to go from good to great this year and being able to navigate a schedule like this will help us meet that goal."

For the first time since 2013, Georgia Southern will play six home Saturday games in a season, starting with Maine on Sept. 7 and concluding with in-state rival Georgia State on Nov. 30. Other home tilts include Louisiana (Sept. 28), Coastal Carolina (Oct. 19), New Mexico State (Oct. 26) and ULM (Nov. 16).

The Eagles will open the 2019 season on the road, traveling to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to take on LSU on Aug. 31, before opening their home slate on Sept. 7 against Maine. Southern will head to Minnesota on Sept. 14 to take on the Golden Gophers before taking the first bye week on Sept. 21. The final non-conference game comes in late October as the Eagles host former Sun Belt foe New Mexico State on Oct. 26.

Georgia Southern opens up Sun Belt play at the end of September, hosting the SBC West champion Ragin' Cajuns of Louisiana on Sept. 28. October begins with a Thursday night ESPNU game at South Alabama on Thursday, Oct. 3 followed by a 16-day break before returning home to host Coastal Carolina on Oct. 19. The Eagles will take on the Aggies in non-conference action a week later and then heads to Boone, North Carolina, on Halloween to take on defending Sun Belt champion Appalachian State in a Thursday night affair on ESPNU. It marks the sixth straight season the two teams have played on a Thursday night under the lights and on national television.

GS will play two home games in September, two in October and two in November. The Eagles open the final month on the road against Troy on Nov. 9 and then return home on Nov. 16 to host ULM. The Eagles begin to wrap up the regular season on Nov. 23 at Arkansas State and will then host Georgia State on Nov. 30 for Senior Day to close things out.

In all, the Eagles will face seven teams that played in the NCAA postseason last season with five of those games coming away from home: at LSU (Fiesta Bowl champs), at Minnesota (Quick Lane Bowl champs); at Appalachian State (SBC champs; New Orleans Bowl champs), at Troy (Dollar General Bowl champs); at Arkansas State (Arizona Bowl), Louisiana (SBC runner-up; Cure Bowl); and Maine (FCS semifinals). Additionally, ULM won six games and was bowl eligible last year.

Georgia Southern will have four open Saturdays, including two full bye weeks. The Eagles will not play the two Saturdays (Oct. 5 and Nov. 2) after the Thursday night games (South Alabama on Oct. 3; App State on Oct. 31). The bye weeks for Georgia Southern fall on the game week of Sept. 21 and Oct. 12.

The conference is once again split into two, five-team divisions and have a championship game on Dec. 7 at the higher-ranked team's home stadium. Georgia Southern is grouped in the East Division with Appalachian State, Coastal Carolina, Troy, Georgia Southern and Georgia State.